Convection Oven

Convection oven: (n) a gas, electric, or microwave oven equipped with a fan that circulates and intensifies the heat, thereby decreasing the normal cooking time.

There are many things in life that cause shock.

For instance, realizing that you’re too short to ride the roller coaster at the amusement park.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Finding out that you have to study for tests to get good grades.

Learning that human sexuality takes effort.

Noting that casting your vote more than likely does not mean that your candidate will be elected.

One of these happened to me the other day. I overheard a young fellow talking to his friend, referring to me as “that nice old man.”

A little piece of my soul died. I chased it down the thoroughfare, but it was gone.

The reason that young chap might be referring to me as a nice “old” fellow is that I remember when the first convection ovens arrived. We were startled at how quickly food could be heated. For me, it happened when I went to a gas station four miles outside of our town. They were using a convection oven to warm sandwiches. When placed in the oven, they came out piping hot in less than two minutes.

Of course, these initial ovens were flawed, sometimes drying out the food and turning it into petrified wood—but it was astounding. It was the fulfillment of one of the promises and predictions I had read as a small boy in my magazine, called “The Weekly Reader.”

I shall stop this article now—for the deeper I go into the origins of my knowledge of the convection oven, the older I sound and the more you’ll be convinced that I am nice…but ancient.

 Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News



Concordance: (n) an alphabetical list of the words in a text

There was a season in my life’s journey when I wanted to be a “Reverend.” Not just a minister or preacher, but an actual, full-fledged cleric.

I liked the sound of it. “Reverend.”

At that time, my immature, jealous spirit was anxious to be recognized for doing nothing while having a title. To accentuate this need and punctuate its funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
possibility, I bought myself the “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.”

I immediately realized why it had the name “Strong” and “Exhaustive.” To just carry the thing required you to be built like an ox.

I located some churches to pontificate spiritual lessons (in other words, preach sermons) so I opened up my Exhaustive Concordance and found words I wanted to share about, and discovered where they were peppered and placed all over the Bible, and then spent all my time trying to pull together these abstract texts–which were thousands of years apart–and create a cohesive message.

It was “inspiration by committee”–the inspiration being anything anybody could get out of my mish-mash and the committee being a host of ancient Bedouin writers who happened to mention my favored word in some favored way.

It is a horrible way to share truth, persisting to this day.

As I lost my interest in the word “Reverend,” and most of my need to evangelize through my sermonizing, I soon discovered that I no longer needed a concordance.

I just needed to share my life–good and bad–and in so doing, become much more enlightening.

And much less exhaustive.


Donate Button

Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)

Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News



CB: (n) The Citizen’s Band (CB) Radio Service

The joy of getting older is in accumulating numerous stories you can share via your daily blog.

Yet the first danger of getting older is that younger folks who have no connection with your subject matter suddenly become aware that
you’re ancient.

And of course, the second danger of getting older is obviously that you are nearer to death than you are to high school.

Bravely facing this danger, I will tell you that I was around during the time that gasoline was rationed in this country–in the mid-1970’s–and the speed limit was dropped to 55 miles per hour. At that point, the highways became the Wild West. Truck drivers who communicated with one another through CB radio began to rebel against the laws and drive whatever speed they desired by placing themselves in large convoys, so as to complicate the enforcement by the State Highway Patrol. In other words, it’s a little difficult to stop forty trucks going 75 miles per hour by waving your hand with your radar gun.

So to counteract these highwaymen, the police set up road blocks and pulled over large numbers of trucks, giving them tickets.

Our little traveling band of gypsy musicians did not have a CB radio–but we did squeeze ourselves into these convoys and travel down the highway with our own rendition of “need for speed.”

But one night we got caught in a roadblock, and were pulled over. We sat there at least an hour. Finally a patrolman walked up and told us we could go. I was shocked. I was also young and stupid, so I asked him why.

He said that even though he knew we were driving the same speed as the trucks, the radar didn’t reach us, and therefore he could not confirm that we were actually speeding.

We pulled away, delighted, surprised and somewhat convicted–as truck drivers glared at us with bullets of anger.

We spent the rest of the night driving 55 miles an hour since we didn’t have our convoy, and had no bread to purchase a CB radio.

Donate Button



Caboodle: (n) a lot, a group

Nothing in the world identifies you as an old person as much as using words that are no longer in circulation.

Honestly, I’m astounded that “cool” has survived through so many generations. But don’t think that “boss, groovy” or “hip” made the journey.

I caught myself the other day, in trying to emphasize the need to use all available resources for a project, nearly saying, “Let’s include the whole kit and caboodle.

Fortunately, my radar spy sense was beaming three or four words ahead. I came to a halt–for a few seconds simulating dementia–trying to find a current terminology that equaled that ancient one.

I came up with a blank, so I said, “We need to include the…well…everything.”

It was awkward, but not nearly as devastating as having a bunch of younger folks try to figure out what “kit and caboodle” meant, while simultaneously jotting down suggestions on their I-Phones for Christmas gifts for me, which would include a tapioca maker.

Words can kill.

But in a greater sense, they can wound your fragile ego.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 








dictionary with letter A

Arid: (adj) A climate having little or no rain; too dry or barren to support vegetation.

Green grass is beautiful. No doubt about it.

Yet eventually it requires your intervention with a mower.

Mountains are stunning in their visage. Yet somehow or another, they compel you to climb them, which is annoying, to say the least. They can also become quite frigid when the calendar says tepid.

The ocean is gorgeous and powerful. But whether you like it or not, sometimes in its more stormy brawls, it intrudes on us “land-lubbers.”

On the other hand, the desert is nearly perfect. Because it lacks vegetation, does not require water and is ancient in its days, it really doesn’t request much from the surrounding mortals. Yet in its simplicity, it reminds us that:

  • we live on a planet
  • we are part of a cosmos
  • and if we don’t allow the moisture of experience and compassion into our lives, we, too, can dry out and become arid.

I know it may seem strange, but I do love the desert. However, you have to be careful because it is so hot and dry that you may become unaware of your need to hydrate.

So as long as you remember that the desert can live without water but you can’t, you can stroll around and enjoy the complexity of rock formations which have been beaten by the sands of time and the mood swings of Mother Nature.

The desert reminds me that the earth does meet the heavens–and we are all intended to live as one.


    Donate Button

    Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix


    dictionary with letter A

    Ancient: (adj) belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.

    The basic design of the human being has not changed for thousands of years. Parts be parts.

    What makes us call former times “ancient” is the realization that these well-formed beings, possessing a tremendous brain, had a tendency to close down portions of that intellect in order to get along with the superstition and stupidity of their current time.

    In other words, those who pursued Greek mythology back in old Athens were made ancient by the fact that they believed in gods and mortals, and sexual relations between the two which created Titans.

    I’m sure it crossed the minds of some of them that this rendition of reality was a bit foolish. But to get along, they went along.

    I’m sure there were many people during the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, who looked at the list of the accused and realized it was just little Sally, who they baby-sat as an infant, and therefore it was highly unlikely that she was the handmaiden of Beelzebub.

    But they went along to get along–thus making them ancient instead of contemporary to us.

    The truth of the matter is, the only people we respect today are those individuals from the past who stood against the flow of the ridiculous.

    So you have to realize that many things we now accept will become ancient very quickly as time progresses and knowledge increases.

    So my thanks go out to those historical individuals who are never going to be ancient because their ideas, although contrary to their times, have moved the human clock.

    That is why it is my responsibility, as a parent and a grandparent, to continue to grow and expand in my vision, so that my offspring do not have to mumble under their breath ... “God, he’s ancient.”



    Donate Button

    Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

    Aloe Vera

    Words from Dic(tionary)

    dictionary with letter A

    Aloe Vera: (n) a gelatinous substance obtained from a kind of aloe, used especially in cosmetics as an emollient and for the treatment of burns.

    My mother was obsessive.

    I do not say that in a judgmental tone. Perhaps a certain amount of obsession is necessary to maintain maternal energy. I’m not sure.

    But what she would often do was obsess over some idea, totally selling out her soul in that direction–until a new revelation made its way onto the horizon, which she embraced with equal fervor, although the past experience did not necessarily warrant such enthusiasm.

    She went through an aloe phase.

    She encountered someone who had an aloe plant and became so enthralled with the idea–that it was used in ancient times as a healing agent, and even appeared in the Bible, which gave it credibility and supernatural implications–that she decided to grow her own aloe plant.

    It would be difficult to describe how much she fussed over the sprout. I thought she was going to expel a kidney in her anticipation of it completing its cycle and birthing the pods which contained the magic ointment.

    Then–a problem. For you see, the aloe plant produces an ointment which is very helpful for treating burns or cuts. At least, that’s the promo. So once her plant had grown, she found herself in the uncomfortable position of hoping, at least secretly, that I would burn or cut myself, so she could try out her plant.

    I’m sure she felt horrible to wish for such a difficulty to befall me. It may be my imagination, but I thought she left matches lying around more, and I can’t swear to it, but there seemed to be a few shards of glass near my toys.

    But being a young boy, it wasn’t too long before I warranted treatment. Trying to mask her thrill over becoming an ancient physician of remedy, she expressed concern over my boo boo, and then broke off one of the pods from the plant and squeezed the gooey stuff onto my cut. Then, almost hourly, she checked the progress.

    I cannot truthfully tell you that my finger healed any more quickly with the aloe vera than it did with some alcohol and a band-aid. But she was convinced.

    Matter of fact, she brought me into the room in front of strangers, held out my wound for inspection and explained her mode of treatment. But like so many other things my mother pursued–and also due to the fact that it became difficult to plan enough injuries to maintain the enthusiasm about the aloe–she eventually dropped her care of the plant, and the poor little thing dried up and died.

    We didn’t speak much about it after that. Matter of fact, she never used aloe vera again on any of my cuts. We were back to hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.

    But I will never forget the first time my exuberant mother squeezed gooey-gooey from a plant onto my finger.

    It brought her joy.  So I offered an obligatory smile.


    by J. R. Practix

    dictionary with letter A

    Accustomed: (v.) to make someone or something accept something as normal or usual

    I’ve grown accustomed to your face … ”

    Yes, that beautiful song spoken by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady.

    Of course, the play itself is a total chauvinist romp, with men supreme and women apparently fortunate to be able to place slippers upon their feet. Well, that’s my point.

    It would be very difficult for this generation of young humans to grow accustomed to My Fair Lady–not just the “face” of it but also the theme and ideas.

    We are actually being asked to adapt to many new ideas at a breakneck speed, so as to promote the agenda of some group or another, and generally speaking, the process by which we are encouraged to thrust our thinking forward is via guilt instead of mercy.

    I guess that’s all right. Some people would say the end justifies the means, as long as one group gets civil rights or another idea gets an airing–what do we really care about the procedure by which it was promoted?

    But honestly, I would like the chance to get “accustomed” to an idea out of the tenderness of my own soul, and express my mercy instead of being laden with guilt over being backward in my thinking, or even stupid. Is the real way to get people accustomed to new ideas or changes in attitude to mock them or make them feel ridiculous and ancient?

    I don’t know.

    • Would we ever have done away with slavery if it had been our choice to keep slaves?
    • Would we have ever given women the right to vote if it had not been referred to as “suffrage,” with ladies marching in the street?
    • Would the Civil Rights Act have been voted in if we had sat around, allowing time to pass, giving the idea a season of contemplation?

    So the word “accustomed” is really misleading. It connotes that we eyeball something, mull it over in our minds and come to intelligent conclusions. That’s not really how things change.

    I think music would probably still be Frank Sinatra and John Phillips Sousa if the British invasion had not literally planted a flag of rebellion in the soil of the United States, demanding attention.

    Sometimes I think I’m too polite with my ideas, and that I might fare better if I screamed them. Unfortunately for my own self-promotion, I’m not much of a screamer–and in an age when “unreasonable” seems normal, an attempt to be reasonable seems fruitless.

    So to grow “accustomed to your face” today means that I see it all over commercials, news programs, magazines, talk shows and flyers–until I am forced to accept the validity of your presence.

    It may not be as enriching as a good conversation, but it would be difficult to deny its effectiveness.